Renter beware of the gown deal

Today I saw an ad from a bridal shop that says, sympathetically, "We know how much it costs to make a wedding. We' like to try to help." The "help" consists of offering a $599 rental package that includes a gown, headpiece & veil, crinoline, cleaning (after the wedding), and platform sneakers. Most of those items are customarily included in a rental, though the sneaker (hey, whatever happened to just wearing satin slippers?) may not. However, there is something else that usually costs far more than sneakers that is not included.

The promo information continues: "Add-ons available.: / Custom alterations / Lace veil or mantilla upgrade / Undergarments/ Shoes."
I am not concerned with upgrading the veil or the possibility of buying or renting shoes. I'm wondering if they actually rent undergarments; that may give some people pause. But all those are options one can live without or easily purchase elsewhere. However, gowns usually need alterations, which is why the cost of alteration is often included in the rental fee. So the supposed bargain price of $599, it seems does NOT include the alterations that just about every bride will require to get a perfect fit, especially as the dress was not made for her but is just the one the store has in stock in that style. That could, potentially, add on over a hundred dollars to the cost.

Though it is listed under as an add-on, for most people it is essential in order for the gown not to sag, pull, or otherwise not look right. That is the reason many opt for the rental service rather than bridal gmachs. Some gmachs do not allow alterations. Even if the gmach does allow a gown to be altered, there are some that only allow particular seamstresses whose services are far from cheap. Add on a few hundred for alteration and a gmach gown ends up approaching the cost of a rental gown. However, if the rental adds on a hundred or two for alterations, then, I suggest checking out the gmachs instead. They usually lend out the headpiece and crinoline at no additional cost, and there are gmachs for "wedding sneakers," as well.


Anonymous said…
Maybe others will not agree -- but I think it pays to get an inexpensive gown from a reasonably priced store, even one of the bridal superstores, and have it altered and made tzanua. It will look perfect, even if it's not a designer model and the fabric is not quite as fine. No one will know unless you tell them. This obsession with expensive finery has got to stop. It's part of the culture of materialism that pervades our society. (I know, I'm getting carried away).
Lion of Zion said…
maybe i don't get it because i'm a guy, but i just don't get this business about buying/renting such a fancy dress to wear one time for a few hours. and $599 to rent? holy crap. that's what my wife paid to *buy* her gown. (ok, it was almost 10 years ago and i don't remember if it was new.) and the alterations/zniusising weren't that expensive either (she stayed away from the jewish seamstresses).

and why, why, why do girls who buy the gown insist on keeping it forever instead of sharing it? (although it was interesting to find my grandmother's gown from 75 years ago when i was rummaging through her closet recently)
Lion of Zion said…
my word verification was "fruti," which makes me wonder what i'm don't on a kallah blog
Ariella's blog said…
Tesyaa, go ahead an get carried away -- that's what the blog forum is for. :-)
LOZ, I don't get the impression that brides keep their gowns. The frum crowd actually is very into renting, and often pay more to rent a gown than nonJews pay to buy one, as in Tesyaa's comment.

Those who buy usually spend over a thousand dollars and then try to get close to their purchase price by selling the gown. I don't think they are successful because used clothing has a value of only a fraction of new clothing -- unless you can bill something as "vintage" (which your grandmother's gown just may be).

As for the word generation -- I have no idea how the letters are selected.
Gila S said…
I'd seen far too many bad buildups (and very few good ones) to have been willing to attempt altering a backless, frontless, sleeveless dress, no matter what material it was made from.

I suppose you'll find the $900 I spent on having my dress made obscene ($450 materials, $450 labor), but it was cheaper than renting it.
Ariella's blog said…
I wasn't making a judgment about the renters; I was commenting on the hidden cost in this "deal." There are many businesses that offer misleading promotions. Some expensive rental places even call themselves gmachs. A friend of mine who got married about 4 years ago told me she spent about $1000 on a gown from Macy's that she had built up (it looked fine, BTW) because what she saw in "gmachs" cost even more. I warn readers about that in

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